My Poetry

Here you can see poetry written by me.

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The Woods Outside Hardy’s Cottage

 

The trees are standing – sharing

Secrets with him – kept safe

In the damp, slow-breathing air

Of the forest. Leaves lie

New leaves – old for the year

They once where new – but sprouted

From old, old substance and bark

The same paradoxical spiral

As time turns round and round

The rowan patterns the grey

Of the low-fallen sky with black

And ferny silhouettes.

Sighting a Tawny Owl in the garden at dusk

The dark lawn swayed

Like a slow timed pendulum

Beneath the strung air

That whistled past the swing

 

The green leaves glowed

In fresh shadowy silence

Around the grey branches

And something

Took flight

With heavy laden sweeps

And swayed into a glide

In perfect, noiseless, hurry

 

Swung with me,

Folded wings and sat

And gazed with eyes like holes

In emptiness – then swept

 

Into shadows.

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Between Tides 

 

They roll

With silver

With sleeping blue

 

They roll over

They roll over

They ripple and ripple

 

So slow

And softly

They sway and sweep

 

The shadows

Like bloom

On dewy grapes

 

The ripples

Like dents

In silver – but quieter

 

They roll

With silver

With sleeping blue

 

They roll over

They roll over

They ripple and ripple

 

Between tides the sea

Rests

The Ammonite

 

This small dizzying thing

This tiny swirl of time

Between the hard dry rock

I see it like a shadow

The rock splits

In two halves

 

A stir of lost life

The dry tight curl

The change from flesh to rock

Has made a speck of life

The life of fallen years

 

Wound up

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Forever

 

At evening  time

Is trapped in the middle of a daisy

A big moon daisy

In the green grass

 

In evening it all

Looks like the sealing kiss,

That’s given with the words,

‘Forever’

 

Snakehead Fritillaries 

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Snakesheads in the shadows

Droop their speckles

 

Hang their heads on thin green

Necks – mournful

In the shadows. Now a

Spear-like leaf

Quivers in the dusk-light

 

Here the buds are weakly

Green and palish –

Here are dim deep purple.

Delicate scales

Stud each head half-opened –

 

Shape like diamond.

Careful arch of neck-stalk

Purple tinged

Careful set of the petals

Over grass-net.

Snakesheads in the shadows

Droop their speckles.

 

February Rain 

 

Grey light – grey from a gray sky –

Cold as an empty hearth

Down the window crawl wet snakes

Joined by dashing drops.

Millions land in the blink of an eye – and

Have I thought for each?

Just the same as flitting fancies

Each insignificant speck

Joins five more, and grows into a

Drop. Through the pane

Febuary’s first pale crocuses lie flattened.

 

The Tulip-Bud

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Twisted at the top

So the peak was like a star

It was smooth green and pale

 

Deepening to the top

Which now was fast un-twisting.

It then was flecked with nightly purple

 

In cracks up to the top

Between the saving green

The deep, fair silk with depth was showing

 

And like a beetle’s wing

In light of evening-time

The light on the silk was changing, like stars on the shore-bound wave

 

It stands just at my door

Within a garden pot

And now the nightly luscious twist is calmly quietly opened

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Mountains 

Still in the silent winter sun they rise

And sink – eternal as the waves they stand

These gem-wrought pictures of a dreamland

Too solid now, to vanish as they came

Though the sky they touch is deeper blue

And the smooth snow softer than I ever knew

Except with close-closed eyes and roaming soul.

 

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Melted

Flakes and more flakes

Dropping – dropping

Softly – quickly

Carry on the air –

Dumb air of Winter

One little moment

Twirls them by – so

Large and soft

Indefinable

So many hundreds

Gathered in a sky!

How can it hold them?

Vast as it is!

Melted away now

Melted.

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The Sea

Changing as the seconds fly

Ever dappling rippling light

Steady while the years go by

 

Ever the wave’s retreating sigh

And the fair-foam frothing white

Changing as the seconds fly

 

Ever the pale-sand blanching dry

And the pale-winged sea birds’ flight

Steady while the years go by

 

Ever the cawing sea-gulls’s cry

And the sunny wave-top bright

Changing as the seconds fly

 

Ever the silvery waters lie

At the dropping of the night

Steady while the years go by

 

Still they lie – close to the sky

In the softly fading light

Changing as the seconds fly

Steady while the years go by.

 

Distant Hills

 

 They were low white like a sound slow-fading

The plumes on the breast of a bird not softer

In fine, slow cadence hues of time and the distance

Rose and swam and dropped

The peak of Shutlingsloe was pale and silent

A fin in a pearly sea

Where slow foam rolls against

The pearl-bedded horizon

In fine, slow cadence hues of time and the distance

The plumes on the breast of a bird not softer

They were low white like a sound slow-fading.

 

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Memories

Sunset

Memories long past will swim in with the sunset

In red an in gold on the rooftops

Drifting as soft as the down on the river

Folding in yellow and dappling in purple

Gentled with time are the clouds like May blossom

Tinged with pink like the cherubs in frescos.

 

Fading

High, far above in the faded pale fresco

There is the dying of colours of sunset

Wrinkling and withering like fallen may blossom

Cracking like sun-backed slates on rooftops

Robe of the goddess is faded from purple

Slipping, oh slipping away is the river.

 

The River

Slipping, oh slipping away is the river

Passing the fields and the hills in the fresco

Surface is dappling with yellow and purple

Flowing like gold in the shine of the sunset

Lighting a path to the sky through the rooftops

Over the field where we gathered may blossom.

 

A Day Years Ago

Falling so softly and white the may blossom

Seconds suspended – they dropped in the river.

Rising above in sunset the rooftops.

Made our way homeward through hills in the fresco

Closed all the shutters ‘gainst light of the sunset

Letting it fall on the rooftop in purple.

 

Re-living the Sunset

Folding in yellow and dappling in purple

Gentled with being are the clouds like May blossom

Memories now here have swam in with the sunset

Drifting as soft as the down on the river

Tinged with pink like the cherubs in frescos

In red an in gold on the rooftops.

 

Dawn

Pinkish and soft the pale dawn o’re the rooftops

Glints through young leaves with veins of dim purple

Colours as clean and as fresh as may blossom

Brightened and new are the colours in fresco

Years long ago they were painted at sunset

Colours brought back to us now by the river.

 

Envoi

Rooftops pile high with the softs of may blossom

Red, gold and purple brought back by the river

Fresh in the fresco the colours of sunset.

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Windpower

I will meet her up on the trembling heights,

Where the tawny grasses bend their heads

And my coat can feel every tug and die of the wind.

The bare bleak landscape’s set in tremor –

I can see the wind in grass below,

I can see the wind in the clouds above –

That fast are hurrying by, and seem

As if, reaching out, I could touch their changing shapes,

Where the dark of the moorland seems to end

As if t’were the edge of the world.

I can see the wind in the grass below

I can see the wind in the clouds above

But when I reach the highest point

Where glory spins out in a line of hills

At first the closer ring of brown

Where the shadows of the clouds go floating past

And behind them the swelling shapes of blue

That rise and sink like waves, or dreams,

I can feel the wind, as true wind feels,

Not a some mere element, that takes

Your bonnet and flurries your hair

But nature’s strongest force, a solid thing

In your ears and your eyes and your mouth and thus,

In your soul. It’s guarding that highest point

Of the moor, that none may venture near.

 

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Let me have it

Let me have it, that something I never can reach –

Let me dance in those poppies that scatter the sky!

Let me drift on those wisps of velvety peach!

Let me slide down those beams of dusty sunshine!

Let me sit on that pale arching curve of a moon!

Let me gather those stars, behind prickling pine –

And wear them on a necklace that forever I’ll keep.

And, for a pendant, what most I should like,

Is one of those bright embers, when the fire falls asleep.

 

Why always so high, so far out of reach –

You taunting great velvety dome of a sky?

If closer you came, I might crawl through that breach,

That fiery crack in the pearly enamel

When the hot sun sinks over a silvery sea.

And what should I find, pass’d through that red channel?

Might I slip out of the atmosphere, and down

The cold milky-way go soaring at ease?

Let me go with the wind to rustle the tree’s green gown.

 

Why, Nature, so allusive, so flitting and shy,

Like the soft butterfly, who flees as I near?

On some big water-lily pad let me lie

And down the quiet stream go a-floating far.

Make the clouds my kingdom, hedge, tree and all,

With a palace, all shimmering with light from the stars.

On the crest of a wave let me ride away!

Forever let me lie on a bed of rich moss,

Let me dress in the sky at the dawn of the day,

And at Nature’s bosom I ever will stay.

 

 

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All things that dance

There’s the dance of the clouds as they cross the sky

Like downy hurrying dreams on high –

And the dance of the golden daffodil

All the bare green hills with light to fill

And the dance of the poplars that sway in wind

And the leaves that in little flurries spin

And the dance of the swan as the day draws late

And the bird like a speck in the sky with his mate

And the dance of the light and the shade on the lane

And the dance of the drops on the windowpane

And the dance of the waves in their sparkling glee

And the dance of my heart these things to see.

 

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Magnolia Flowers

Like soft white leather

As white as a feather

So thick and slow

Like petals of snow

Or face of moon

All bigly strewn

Upon the ground

Without a sound …

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Cup of Sunlight

I chased her

I chased her round the old mill

And down the rolling hill

And up and over the steep green bank –

She flew like dragonfly over the brow

And leaped a fence or two

She stepped as light as the wind blew

Her laughter rang to the sky, and she left

Me to catch my breath while her hair

Shimmered-off into sunlight, and her eyes

Dissolved into bright blue skies.

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The fairy

She put the tulip petal straight

And set erect the drooping grass

And then from flower to flower went she

Gathering dew-drops one two three –

Strung them on a spider’s web

And used it like a piece of thread.

Then – her daily duty done –

Curled up on moss under the sun.

 

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Staying or going?

Sometimes beauty moves, sometimes she stays –

The wind – she moves, and in the grass she plays

Likewise the sun that sprinkles gold the ground

And the clouds and the leaves and the rain and the thistledown

The sunset colours; the light in coals

And the silver rushing tin-foil sardine shoal

And the stream and the dream and the butterfly; the ripple

And rainbow; the iridescent shine on the beetle’s wing

But the boulders on the mountainside – they stay

As does the towering crag; the little bay

The trunk of the beech and the root of the yew – the old

Hillside; the shore, and the far-off blue of the mountains

But the Sea is the queen of them all – for she

Lasts longer than the trunk or root of tree

Last longer than the boulder – and longer than the bay

Lasts longer than the crag – and longer than

The mountains; hill and shore – lasts longer than

The ground – lasts longer than Eternity! And yet

She moves far quicker – far quicker with wet

Colours – than the wind or the sun or the clouds or the leaves

Or the rain or the light in the coals or the sunset colours –

Far quicker than shoal or rainbow – ripple or stream

Or the beetle’s wing or the thistledown – the butterfly or the dream.

For she is always a-shimmering – with a pace your eyes

Cannot follow – and her waves are always a-lapping – so quick

You cannot count them – and her colours are melting along

With the wide, wide sky – and she changes the note of her song

And her foam is always a-frothing, as it leaves the long waste

Of sand – and her shadows are always a-rippling to light.

There change makes up eternity – and there is no staying

And there is no going – only the salt waves playing. 

 

Full Moon

Smoother than a woman’s brow

With ghostly pearl perfection

Silvery was her gown of cloud – how

Silvery her complexion!

In the bleak and blasted sky

Of Winter – in that vast

Drifting waste of cloud – high

Over the blurred mountains – cast

In a perfect mould.

 

The Woods in March

The trees in silent sober beauty stood

Pale tree-trunks rising smooth from dead

And dying bracken – tawny gold – the wood

Half-bathed with moist sunshine. “See, tread

With softness lest the slightest stir you make

And all the golden sleeping woodland wake

Let not one fallen brown leaf rustle – break

No twig – be quiet and kick no stone.” Said she

So with most scrupulous care went we

And passed around a slender smooth-barked tree.

We saw two kinds of catkins lately out

The pussy willow, grey with her soft, soft touch

And hazel too before we turned about –

And they were cleanly yellow green. So much

Of beauty in that little wood

A-wearing Spring-time’s hood

Were she and I stood.

 

A Gold-Tit

You made a tiny flit of life

In branches just above me – green

As forest moss your wing – your keen

Black eye was shyly watching me –

And teeny feet were hooked about

The spindly silvery twig. With doubt

Your trembling beak explored a leaf

And lightly let it fall upon my foot.

Your careful markings smudged like soot

And on your head a brushstroke blaze

Of yellow-gold. Your minute tail

Is gone among the catkins pale.

 

 

My Churchyard Angel

Within the darkest, dreary spot

Of all the churchyard she

Was sleeping, sleeping – quite forgot

Folded beneath the tree

Her wings were silent, long and soft

Her face was wrought with shadow

Her garments touched with silence – oft

A single needle slow

Fell on her with the touch of peace

And on the graves around.

Should ever her calm face cease

To be – crumbling into the ground

(And already her wings are hurt

And chipped) then there she still would be

Her hair, her floating skirt –

There, white behind the dark yew tree.

Long years ago she fell from her

Proud height above the tomb

Chipped herself and caused a stir

In leaves. She lies in gloom

While round her leaves are silent and still –

Holly and pine and yew –

And unto the them her stone skirts spill

Pale-grey. And nobody knew

Or knows of her being there, but me.

And I am the first in years

To wander there, so near where she

Is sleeping. No graveyard fears –

The graves dress her in Time

Her lovely hair is looped and tress’d

She hears the churchbells chime

While she is lying there at rest.

 

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The Howarth Moors

(To Emily Bronte)

 

The cloud unfurls like a storm-blue cape

Of heavy velvet over the view

And vast the steep dark monstrous shape

Of moorland like a sleeping beast

Is distantly flecked with dying snow

The voice of wind is lion unleashed.

 

The air comes big and cold and stinging

The ground is stumbling under the wind

The fast-expiring snow is clinging

The wind is always passing through

Yet stays to rant and roar and blast

The clouds are bearing down on the view –

 

The whole –

Is silencing wind and thought to – this –

Eternity.